Duck owner debating buying a goose for guarding...Questions..

addctd2plnts

Songster
Aug 24, 2019
264
547
156
St. Charles County, MO
Hi,

We have a farm and are going to be expanding our duck collection, but we want to keep each breed separate. I'm waiting on a Pyrenean Mastiff puppy, but pup can't travel till Dec 2021 and won't be ready to guard for 6-12 months after that. We've debated getting a guard goose with our next shipment of ducklings to help guard from aerial predators. We have 68 inch high electric netting, and can make some areas safe from overhead predators. But regarding geese...

Who has used them in this capacity with success? What breed are you using and are they friendly to humans? If we have multiple groups of ducks, and one gander per group, with no females, will the ganders focus on their ducks, or will they fight between pens? (Like dogs fence fighting...?)

When I've seen Geese being used as guards, it has only been a single male. Is this a fluke, or are the males better suited?

Any other advice appreciated... TIA, Holly
 

3xhhheather

Songster
May 8, 2020
450
1,301
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Central NC / 7B
I use geese as guards from hawks and have been successful so far. I'm in the camp that feels like it's unfair to keep just one goose and have had no issues regarding their protection towards the flock with having multiple geese.

Occasionally I have to separate my gander from the ducks as he tries to mate with everyone during breeding season. I do feel that he is more alert than my ladies, but it's not like they're totally aloof to what's going on.

Friendliness is a combination of breed and how much time you spend with them when they're little. Lots of hand feeding, snuggles, and general interaction outside will help build that bond. The livestock conservancy website has a great breakdown of breed specifics (personality, weight, etc). It's where I started when doing research about what breeds I'd like to bring on.
 

FoodFreedomNow

Crowing
5 Years
Aug 11, 2016
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I've also had success with geese as aerial predator deterrents (running with ducks). I disagree with those, including a certain well-known hatchery, that promote getting a single male gosling to serve as a "guardian" to a poultry flock. I've been receiving requests lately from people looking for that single male gosling (I don't sell singles, anyway) and have attempted to educate them about the issues with that mythical model...but they usually get testy about it. 🙄

Pyxis has explained why having a single goose (or gander) is not a good idea. I invite you to consider the wellbeing of the gander - how happy will he be with poultry that can't meet all of his needs? I have a large group of geese and have witnessed hawks abort their descent when they see a gander (with his geese) flapping his wings. I've lost no ducks to aerial predators since my ducks began to range with my geese. A solitary gander is not necessary and is not advisable.
 

addctd2plnts

Songster
Aug 24, 2019
264
547
156
St. Charles County, MO
I use geese as guards from hawks and have been successful so far. I'm in the camp that feels like it's unfair to keep just one goose and have had no issues regarding their protection towards the flock with having multiple geese.

Occasionally I have to separate my gander from the ducks as he tries to mate with everyone during breeding season. I do feel that he is more alert than my ladies, but it's not like they're totally aloof to what's going on.

Friendliness is a combination of breed and how much time you spend with them when they're little. Lots of hand feeding, snuggles, and general interaction outside will help build that bond. The livestock conservancy website has a great breakdown of breed specifics (personality, weight, etc). It's where I started when doing research about what breeds I'd like to bring on.
What breed or breeds are you using? Have they been aggressive to you? The Livestock Conser. site is really nice as a jumping off site. I'm hesitating because I don't dump animals and don't want to get something that will be a nightmare. I guess because I help dog rescues and we spay/neuter dogs, and not let them fulfill their natural destiny, I'm not so emotional about insuring the goose has a mate, especially if he can bond to his flack and have a job. Life on our farm is luxury conmpared to a year of life with a mate and the stew pot LOL.

We have an adopted daughter who is low IQ and I know she would be overwhelmed with being attacked. She will spend time with them as babies and loves to snuggle with them. I don't mind if it's for a small part of the year, but it can't be constantly. She gets overwhelmed and I need her help, plus caring for the ducks and farm animals is a good activity for her.How long is the average time they are hormonal and aggressive each year?
 

addctd2plnts

Songster
Aug 24, 2019
264
547
156
St. Charles County, MO
I've also had success with geese as aerial predator deterrents (running with ducks). I disagree with those, including a certain well-known hatchery, that promote getting a single male gosling to serve as a "guardian" to a poultry flock. I've been receiving requests lately from people looking for that single male gosling (I don't sell singles, anyway) and have attempted to educate them about the issues with that mythical model...but they usually get testy about it. 🙄

Pyxis has explained why having a single goose (or gander) is not a good idea. I invite you to consider the wellbeing of the gander - how happy will he be with poultry that can't meet all of his needs? I have a large group of geese and have witnessed hawks abort their descent when they see a gander (with his geese) flapping his wings. I've lost no ducks to aerial predators since my ducks began to range with my geese. A solitary gander is not necessary and is not advisable.
What breed of geese are you using? Have they been aggressive to ducks or humans? I don't mind having a few geese, but all reports seem to indicate, depending on breed, that they can even kill ducks? I'm assembling a high quality group of ducks and can't afford to have have ducks killed when they are $150-185 each LOL
 

3xhhheather

Songster
May 8, 2020
450
1,301
226
Central NC / 7B
What breed or breeds are you using?
French Toulouse & Buff Dewlaps
Have they been aggressive to you?
My gander definitely has, but you can teach them manners. He became my #1 buddy, comes when I call, let's me cuddle him, and generally gives me a warning when he's needing extra space. I think @Goosebaby has multiple posts about working with ganders and standing your ground.

I'm hesitating because I don't dump animals and don't want to get something that will be a nightmare. I guess because I help dog rescues and we spay/neuter dogs, and not let them fulfill their natural destiny, I'm not so emotional about insuring the goose has a mate, especially if he can bond to his flack and have a job. Life on our farm is luxury conmpared to a year of life with a mate and the stew pot LOL.

Totally understand! So while a goose may bond with a flock, it will not be the same bond it shares with another goose. They'll never be able to communicate with the ducks and geese chatter with each other all day long, mine sleep right next to each other, call one another when the treats show up or they find a good patch of weeds. I'm not saying you need a huge flock, but a duck is not a replacement for another goose. Having multiple geese has never been a stress point for me and I'm happy knowing they're happy having each other.

I would say stay away from known aggressive breeds like Embden, Chinese, & African. I've read that Pomeranians can be finicky, but so can French Toulouse (which I have & love). Sebastopol, Dewlaps, American Buffs, Roman Tufteds, and Cotton Patch are said to be more docile and friendly....but they're all still geese so take that with a grain of salt 😬

We have an adopted daughter who is low IQ and I know she would be overwhelmed with being attacked. She will spend time with them as babies and loves to snuggle with them. I don't mind if it's for a small part of the year, but it can't be constantly. She gets overwhelmed and I need her help, plus caring for the ducks and farm animals is a good activity for her.How long is the average time they are hormonal and aggressive each year?

Not sure how old your daughter is, but the geese did not take to my niece who is 10. Now they did not grow up around kids, so it could be different, but I had to keep them in their pen while she was around in the yard. Hormones typically start kicking in around the fall during 'pairing season' and then stay ramped up through late spring, but it's the worst during the first year. I never experienced any aggression from my ladies (except when she's on the nest), only my gander.
 

FoodFreedomNow

Crowing
5 Years
Aug 11, 2016
3,809
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452
What breed of geese are you using? Have they been aggressive to ducks or humans? I don't mind having a few geese, but all reports seem to indicate, depending on breed, that they can even kill ducks? I'm assembling a high quality group of ducks and can't afford to have have ducks killed when they are $150-185 each LOL
My geese are Pilgrims. They're considered to be one of the more "docile" breeds. Mine are human imprinted, too.

I think the problem with trying to select a breed based on commonly-accepted behavioral characteristics is that there are too many variables to predict how a specific bird - regardless of breed - is going to react in a specific, unique situation. Will the goslings be raised with your ducklings? What happens during breeding season, when ganders get hormonal? I think the potential exists for a gander of any breed to injure a duck, drake, goose, or gander under the right circumstances.

I really enjoy my geese and consider it a bonus that they may deter aerial predators, but a properly-trained LGD would be better suited to the task of protecting your ducks. Geese can be a handful. 🙂
 

3xhhheather

Songster
May 8, 2020
450
1,301
226
Central NC / 7B
I disagree. I have a Chinese goose and she's really friendly so I guess it depends on how you approach them.
Oh of course, how you raise them has a lot to do with shaping their personality. Someone I follow on IG raises Africans and they seem incredibly sweet. My point was only that for a first time goose owner who might not be 100% on having them it might be easier to get breeds with a history of being more docile.
 

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